The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away - Job 1:21
The story of Job unfolds in the Bible as a narrative of a rich and righteous man blessed by God with immense possessions and a loving family. Yet, when Satan was granted permission to test Job (Job 1:12), he lost everything he had - his home, flocks, and family - in minutes.
Despite the severe loss, Job's reaction was not of anger or entitlement. Instead, Job quotes in Job 1:21:
"Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
This statement holds immense relevance for us today as it emphasizes the sovereignty and power of God over everything.
So what does the phrase "The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away" mean and how does it apply to our lives today?
- Understanding God's Sovereignty
- The importance of acknowledging God’s authority
- Job's Response to His Afflictions
- God’s Allowance of Sadness and Evil
- The Misconception of Trouble as God’s Punishment
- Understanding God's Control Over Everything
- Lesson's Learned From Job Experience
- Final Thoughts
- FAQ About "The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away"
Understanding God's Sovereignty
Contrary to popular opinion, Job is not a person of patience. It's a common misinterpretation that Job was patiently waiting for God to restore him; instead, Job's story is about recognizing that God is sovereign and in total control of the universe.
Job's complaint on justness and righteousness
Job's dialogue throughout the rest of the book revolves around his claims of righteousness. He attempted to justify himself before God, asserting that he had not lived a sinful life and therefore did not deserve such harsh punishments (Job 31:1-40).
God's response to Job's entitlement
God responded to Job's presumptions by confronting him with his powerlessness (Job 40:1-14). He reminded Job of the insignificance of human perspective in the grand scheme of God's plans. The Book of Job details this confrontation where Job admits that he did not fully recognize God's authority and might; and he remains silent (Job 40:3-5). This recognition happens before God restores his livelihood and family (Job 42:10-17).
The key to understanding Job's story is recognizing God’s authority over our lives. God's ways and purposes are higher than ours, as affirmed in Isaiah 55:8-9, and we cannot fully comprehend them. Thus, we should not dwell in the feeling that God has overlooked or forgotten us.
This understanding of God's sovereignty, evidenced through Job's story, is an essential lesson for us. It's about acknowledging that we have nothing of value to offer to God, and yet, He bestows us with blessings and grace (James 1:17).
Job's Response to His Afflictions
Job's non-blaming attitude towards God
Despite the immense trials and afflictions, Job never cursed God or blamed Him for the calamity. He retained his faith even in dire circumstances, setting a unique example of endurance and perseverance. As recorded in Job 2:10, he responded wisely saying, "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"
Criticism from Job's friends and wife
Job faced not only the loss of his possessions and health, but also criticism and discouragement from his closest relations. His friends and wife thought Job was foolish to maintain his faith in the face of such adversity. They suggested he curse God and accept death (Job 2:9), arguing that it would be better than living in total misery.
Job's wisdom in refusing to blame God
Despite the harsh comments and advice, Job exhibited profound wisdom by rebuking them and refusing to lay the blame at God’s feet. This response emphasizes that we may not fully comprehend God’s plan, but we should still trust Him. Job's wisdom lies in maintaining his integrity and faith in God (Job 27:5), a valuable lesson for us.
God’s Allowance of Sadness and Evil
Differentiating God's allowance and causation of sadness
It is crucial to understand that while God allows sadness to come into our lives, He does not cause it. As witnessed in Job's life, God permitted Satan to take everything away and to afflict Job’s body. The key point to remember is that God is always in complete control over us, including how evil can creep in and affect us.
Limits placed by God on evil
God’s sovereignty also extends to placing limits on the extent of evil. As recorded in Job 1:12, God set clear boundaries on how far Satan was allowed to go with Job. This not only indicates God's control but also His protection even in the face of evil.
How God uses circumstances to lead us back to Him
While God never directly uses evil or even temptation to sin as a tool, He does allow our circumstances to lead us back to Him. This is evident in various instances in the Bible where the children of Israel strayed from God and He allowed them to face adversities.
However, when they cried out to Him, He delivered them from their troubles (Judges 3:9). This pattern demonstrates that our lowest points often lead us to seek God with a fervor that might not be present in times of joy and prosperity.
The Misconception of Trouble as God’s Punishment
Incorrect assertions of Job's friends
A common misconception is to view troubles in our lives as a sign of God’s punishment. This is a perspective that Job's friends repeatedly fell into as they attempted to counsel him. They suggested that Job was somehow responsible for his troubles due to sin, as reflected in their conversations in Job 4 and following chapters. However, their assumptions were erroneous.
God's nature is not to cause us harm
God's nature is inherently good, and He doesn't cause pain and loss because He wants us to suffer or because He is uncaring. Remember, God's nature is described throughout the Bible as a compassionate and merciful God (Psalm 103:8).
Understanding God's Control Over Everything
God's sovereignty is displayed in all situations, both blessings and suffering. Job's story illustrates this, as he recognizes that good and bad things in his life happened because God allowed them to happen (Job 1:21).
How we should seek God in good and bad times
Thus, we should seek God with equal devotion in times of joy as well as in times of adversity. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we are instructed to always rejoice, pray, and give thanks in all circumstances.
Lesson's Learned From Job Experience
Job's realization of God's power
Despite his hardships, Job came to the important realization about God: He gives us everything, and He alone can take everything away. This understanding reflects a deep acknowledgement of God's sovereignty over everything.
Job's reaction to his restoration
After all the heartache and loss, God restored Job's fortunes (Job 42:10). Yet, the story doesn’t end with Job’s material restoration. Importantly, Job continued to rely on God when his fortunes were reversed back to good in double-fold, proving his faith in God to be trustworthy.
Emphasizing trust in God during trials and blessings
Job's example is a powerful reminder for us to trust in God during trials and blessings. It is also a testament that faith is not a mere fair-weather friend; it must persist even adversities.
The story of Job invites us to recognize that everything is part of God’s plan and is always within His power. Whether it is a time of blessing or loss, it's crucial to remember that God is in control.
We should strive to emulate Job’s attitude of worship and his words, "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Such an approach encourages us to praise God in all circumstances, acknowledging His sovereignty over every aspect of our lives.
As stated in Psalm 34:1, "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth." Amen!
FAQ About "The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away"
What does "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away" mean?
The phrase "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away" is a biblical phrase from the book of Job (Job 1:21). It means that everything we have in life, including our possessions, our loved ones, and our very lives, comes from God. As such, God also has the authority to take these things away, according to His divine plan and purposes.
Why did God allow Satan to test Job?
In the narrative of Job, God allowed Satan to test Job as a demonstration of Job's faith and righteousness. Job was a man who was faithful to God and walked in His ways, and God allowed this trial to prove Job's faith. It's important to note that God set boundaries on how far Satan could go in afflicting Job.
How does the story of Job relate to the concept of God's sovereignty?
The story of Job is a powerful example of God's sovereignty, or His ultimate authority and control over everything in the universe. Despite the severe trials that Job underwent, he recognized and affirmed God's sovereignty. His statement, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away," is a profound recognition of this sovereignty.
What does Job's response to his suffering teach us?
Job's response to his suffering provides an example of an enduring faith and trust in God, even in times of great adversity. Despite losing everything he had and being afflicted with severe illness, Job did not curse God. Instead, he acknowledged God's sovereignty and continued to trust in Him. This teaches us the importance of maintaining our faith and trust in God, regardless of our circumstances.
Is suffering always a sign of punishment from God?
No, suffering is not always a sign of punishment from God. In the story of Job, his friends incorrectly assumed that Job's suffering was a punishment for some hidden sin. However, God made it clear that this was not the case.
While it's true that God sometimes allows suffering to correct or discipline us, it's also true that He sometimes allows suffering for reasons that we may not understand, as was the case with Job. In all cases, God's purposes are ultimately good, and He works in all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).